DEAR COUNSELLOR: The cost of a relationship

Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD, is a counselling psychologist.

Dear Counsellor:

I am 17 and since I was in third form, three girls have played with my feelings; they just used me for my money and left me heartbroken. What do they see in me why they decide to use me?
Yours truly,
– D.F.

Dear D.F.,

In life, we all make choices. Whatever the choice we make, there will always be consequences. Good choices usually result in good consequences; likewise, bad choices give bad consequences. You made a choice to give money to these girls. I did not get from your situation that you were forced or robbed. Did you ever stop to think that you may have expected something in return? The expectations you had was to give what they asked for (money) and for them to give you something in return (love/friendship). When your expectations were not met, this resulted in your feeling used and heartbroken. Remember, too, that you are the one in control of your feelings, and you are the one responsible for your reactions and expressions of these feelings.

need to assess the relationships you want and the reasons you want the relationships. At 17, I would think you are still in high school. Why is it your responsibility to give girls money? If you have been doing the same things since third form, you will definitely get the same results. You have to decide on what your next move is going to be. You know that they are playing with your feelings. Why do you continue to entertain them? Do they show interest in your academic performance? Do they ask about what you are interested in? How interested are they in your well-being? Do they contribute to your happiness? Do they do things for you without your asking?

Relationships ought to be based on common interests, common ideals, respect, loyalty, kindness, sharing, empathy, input, and contributions by all concerned, and they ought not to be based solely on money or material things for that matter. If you are able to identify what you need from relating to others, then you should only accept friendships that meet everyone’s needs in a healthy and productive way. In life, you ought to learn to say no, too. When some persons realise that you are giving and helpful and kind, they continue to take and never feel the need to give back or share. Really, this is a weakness on their part. Learning from your experiences will help you manoeuvre life’s path. You ought to be in control of your thoughts, actions, and behaviour. This will go a far way to making better decisions about how much you give, and, possibly, giving without expecting something in return.

You may use this time to do some introspection and reassess who you are and what you need to be happy. Relationships ought to be mutually beneficial and, remember, I am not only talking about love and/or sexual relationships – any kind of relationship between persons. People who genuinely care for each other do not generally take out or take away, but they freely invest in the friendship/ relationship. Might I suggest that you extend your social circle a little – in order that you can share experiences and learn from your peers and adults in your life – in social settings. Intimate relationships will eventually be a part of your life, if that is what you choose, but you should not have to pay for this, not at all. Please, always remember that you ought to make wise decisions about the varied aspects of your life – your social, financial, sexual, emotional, and academic life.

The question is, what don’t you see in you? Why do you allow yourself to be used? I want you to take some time to identify the characteristics you admire in others – and those you do not admire – and make an effort to get to know yourself, your likes and dislikes, and what makes you feel good about your interactions with others. Starting with you always helps. Be confident in yourself and you will be able to attract the right person(s) at the right time.

• Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD, is a counselling psychologist.

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